Can polymer clay dry in oven?

Polymer clay is a versatile and popular crafting material known for its ability to be shaped, sculpted, and cured to create a wide range of projects. However, when it comes to the terminology used to describe the transformation of polymer clay from its pliable state to its hardened form, there is often confusion about whether polymer clay “dries” or “cures” in the oven. In this article, we’ll explore the distinction between drying and curing in the context of polymer clay and provide a clear understanding of the process that takes place in the oven.

The Process of Curing Polymer Clay

Polymer clay does not “dry” in the traditional sense like water-based materials. Instead, it undergoes a chemical process known as curing when exposed to specific temperatures. The term “curing” refers to the transformation of the clay from a malleable, soft state to a solid and durable finish. During the curing process, polymer clay molecules crosslink and bond together, creating a strong and resilient structure.

Baking Polymer Clay in the Oven

To initiate the curing process and transform polymer clay into its hardened state, it is necessary to bake the clay in an oven at a precise temperature and for a specified duration. This temperature and time combination depends on the brand and type of polymer clay being used, as different formulations may have varying curing requirements. Generally, polymer clay is baked at temperatures ranging from 265°F to 275°F (130°C to 135°C) for about 15-30 minutes per 1/4 inch (6mm) of thickness.

The Misconception of “Drying”

The confusion between “drying” and “curing” in the context of polymer clay arises from the terminology used to describe the process. While polymer clay doesn’t “dry” like water-based materials, the term “baking” is often used to refer to the curing process. This can lead to the misconception that polymer clay dries in the oven, similar to how moisture evaporates from wet materials.

Ensuring Successful Curing

For successful curing of polymer clay, it’s important to follow these guidelines:

  • Temperature Accuracy: Use an oven thermometer to ensure that the oven’s temperature matches the temperature recommended by the polymer clay manufacturer.
  • Thorough Baking: Curing times are based on the thickness of the clay. Be sure to bake the clay long enough to achieve complete curing, but avoid overbaking, which can lead to discoloration or burning.
  • Monitoring: Keep an eye on the clay while it’s baking to ensure it doesn’t become distorted or damaged during the process.


In conclusion, polymer clay does not “dry” like water-based materials. Instead, it undergoes a chemical curing process in the oven, resulting in a solid and durable finish. The confusion between “drying” and “curing” arises from the terminology used to describe the process. By understanding the distinction between the two and following proper baking guidelines, you can successfully create polymer clay projects that are fully cured and ready to showcase your creativity.

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